PLU code – How to read the numbers with labels on fruit?

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PLU codes stuck on easy peelersPhoto by
You’ve probably noticed that the labels on fruit and some vegetables have printed numbers. These products come from imports, and if you are thinking that these numbers are used to reduce the crowds at the box office in the supermarket or store, you are wrong. These stickers or labels have more important role than the barcode with the price. On them is imprinted the so-called PLU – Price Look Up- code with which you can more easily determine which group of food product belongs to. This is actually a number that speaks primarily about the way that the plant is grown.

What is the PLU code?


PLU code is introduced by Marketing Association Food and today is present in more than 1,400 types of products. This coding system was launched in America in 1990, and eventually took up residence in New Zealand and most European countries. PLU code consisting of 4 or 5 digits. It is found in the form of a small sticker affixed to each individual piece of fresh products – fruit or vegetable. Using the PLU code, you can find out how the product is grown – is it genetically modified, organically grown or bred with the help of chemical fertilizers, fungicides and herbicides? This kind of coding is not prescribed by law but is voluntary. More and more manufacturers, especially smaller ones who grow organic foods, recognizes the importance of these tags. It easier to reach customers who are increasingly looking for organic products. PLU codes are also used for nuts, dried fruits, herbs and flavorings.

How to properly read PLU code?

1. If the PLU code contains only 4 digits, it means that the fruit is grown by conventional or “traditional” method with the use of pesticides. These 4 digits just speaks of the kind of vegetable or fruit. For example – all the bananas are numbered 4011, 4131 apple, kiwi 4030, orange 3107 …
2. If the PLU code contains five digits starting with the number 8, it says that the fruits or vegetables are genetically modified. GMO food brings many dangers to our health – can cause infertility, disruption in the work of hormone and cause even tumors. One should avoided GMO foods. Now we know that the genetically bred banana will be marked with No 84011.
3. If the PLU code contains five digits starting with number 9, it tells you that these food is organic cultivated and not genetically modified. So, in that way organic bananas will have this number: 94011. Behind this label announcement is Food Marketing Association and they say that these adhesive labels that are attached to the fruit is edible. Some labels are not edible. For now, the most attractive works ideas are Trademarks of natural substances, such as for example blueberry juice.


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